The myriad forms that excellence took in 2012:
Borderlands 2 – My pick for game of the year. While maybe not the most technically daring or graphically beautiful, it’s the game I had the most fun playing this year. Handsome Jack may be a Hall of Fame villain. I sure hope Butt Stallion is ok.
LA Noire – Yeah it’s old, but I just got around to playing it this year during the Summer Gaming Drought of ’12. This game indirectly contributed to my subsequent non-playing of Sleeping Dogs.
Black Ops 2 Multiplayer – the Pick 10 system was a welcome change to multiplayer this year, allowing for greater class flexibility. Also nice: Prestige’ing doesn’t reset all of your progress!
Portal 2 – (see LA Noire)
The Walking Dead – both the game from Telltale Games game & AMC’s third season. TTG did a masterful job with it’s Walking Dead game; cannot wait for season 2, whenever that’s slated to hit. Every chapter had at least one holy shit moment (and I’m only on chapter 3!). Season 3 of AMC’s The Walking Dead was surprisingly strong as well, as I’d all but given up on the series after the Sophia/Farm heavy second season. When in the HELL does Rick get his trusty hatchet?
The Avengers – best superhero movie of the year. Spider-what? Dark Who? I want to see a buddy movie with Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner & RD Jr’s Tony Stark. But only if it has at least once scene where the Hulk throws a bear
Marvel NOW – I stll have no idea what the deal is with Marvel Now. A reboot? A renumbering? A sales trick? What I DO know is that Marvel’s ratcheted up its game (possibly due to the New 52) and is churning out very, very strong series especially Thor God of Thunder, Indestructible Hulk, The Avengers, Uncanny Avengers & All New X-Men. Leading me to…
Hawkeye – comic of the year? Perhaps. Fraction/Aja/Hollingsworth’s take on the character make him a compelling everyman that bounces between outwitting Marvel’s arch criminals to defending his NYC apartment building from a horde of Russian bros. Doesn’t sound like your bag? Trust me, it is. Check it out.
Ski Safari – I have a bad habit of bying mobile games, playing them for a day or so and then moving on. So far, Ski Safari has not only kept my attention but actively looking forward to the commute to/from work so I can play it. I hate skiing but I love doing monster backflips on a yeti. If you feel the same, pick it up.
Rawrs Shirts – the first & third best thing I bought at New York Comic Con this year. Cool designs on shirts that fit great.
Comic Con 2012’s poster orgy – The second & fourth best things I bought were from Mondo. Plus a totally sweet Thanos/War of the Gems poster from Capcom. Plus this:
Saturday Night in Atlantic City – bachelor party shenanigans & a solid 6 hour of poker.
Finally getting rid of my shit iPhone4 – you suck bro and I’m glad you’re gone.
Very Near Mint & Double Barrel – Not going to lie: I’m not an indie comics guy. I’m just not. But I took a chance on VNM at NYCC ’12 and on Double Barrel on the advice of the CEO of comiXology and I’m glad I did. I actually went back to NYCC to pick up additional copies of VNM. Both are worth at least taking a look at. And since the first few issues of DB are like $.99 on comiXology, definitely worth the expense. Just buy them already.
Max Payne -a great surprise. This was more of an impulse purchase, as I’d never played the first two. But Rockstar’s been on such a roll lately, I thought it would definitely be worth it The single player was great, standouts being the first level and any of the levels running around in the Brazillian favelas. What really shocked me though was the multiplayer. If there’s one thing that’s already bothered me about Rockstar games, it’s that their multiplayer efforts seem kind of tacked on and frankly not very good. I didn’t get that from MP3 at all; the level designs were top notch, the game modes were all interesting spins on established multiplayer staples, the weapons seemed balanced, and the customization’s were pretty fun (I love dress up, shut up).